Dougherty Co. Schools reach agreement with suspended teacher - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Dougherty Co. Schools reach agreement with suspended teacher

ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

Dougherty County School Board members say they're ready to put a grade changing scandal behind them now that the Westover High School teacher who brought it to light agreed to resign at the end of this school year.

The Dougherty County school board unanimously approved an agreement with teacher, Kevin Fretwell.

He will work the rest of this school year at the South Georgia Regional Achievement Academy and will resign at the end of the school year.

"I do think that it sends a message that the school system and the board support the superintendent in holding people accountable for their actions. Whether you agree or disagree with the levels of punishment for the different individuals, the superintendent has taken a stand and is going to hold staff accountable," said Robert Youngblood, a school board member.

Fretwell gave copies of student records to the media, uncovering a grade changing scandal. But he never alerted school officials.

"This is a violation of federal law. And so we just can't ignore it," said Carol Tharin, the school board chair.

"When you have someone that's in direct violation of the law, especially when it has to do with our children, it's an issue that the board has got to take very, very seriously," said Darrel Ealum, a school board member.

"It is a fundamental requirement of teachers and administrators that we keep the grades and records of students confidential," said Tommy Coleman, the DCSS attorney.

Another teacher gave Fretwell the copies, after Westover High School Principal William Chunn changed grades for more than 120 freshman, some going from zero to 70.  That teacher, Chunn and the assistant principal have already been disciplined for the grade changes.

Now the Professional Standards Commission will review the incident to see if more needs to be done.

"They will review it.  And then what they do as far as any additional discipline is up to them. It's out of our hands," said Tharin.

Kevin Fretwell is also the wrestling and baseball coach at Westover High. He's allowed to finish out the wrestling season, but will not be allowed to coach baseball. His attorney said they had no comment.

 

Previous story:

The Dougherty County school system has reached an agreement with the teacher who released student records to the media.

According to the agreement, Kevin Fretwell, a teacher at Westover High School will resign at the end of the year. He has been reassigned to South Georgia Regional Achievement Academy, an alternative school, by the Superintendent, effective immediately.

Fretwell will continue to be a wrestling coach, but will not be allowed to coach baseball at Westover High.

The decision comes after Superintendent David Mosely originally recommended Fretwell be fired in the wake of a grade-changing scandal.

That scandal was uncovered when Fretwell gave copies of student records to the media. In it, Westover High School Principal William Chunn changed grades for more than 120 freshmen students. Some of the grades were changed from zero to a 70.

The changing of the students' grades, which did raise some eyebrows from school leaders and the community, is legal according to Georgia statutes.

An attorney for Dougherty County Schools later said Principal Chunn made the grade changes without documenting any of them or recording an explanation of why the changes were made.

The Georgia Professional Standards Commission will review Fretwell's certificate, along with other educators involved.

 

Copyright 2014 WALB.  All rights reserved.

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